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Sciences of the Qur’an
Posted: 01 September 2006 04:40 AM   [ Ignore ]
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http://www.islamicity.com/Science/iqs/

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Posted: 01 September 2006 04:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Absolutely true that the late middle ages were times when the Moslem world was the number one research community on earth. And this is to be lauded. But what happened since?

Would the Koran sanction investigations that might reveal it not to be the word of god?

Would the Koran sanction Darwinism, materialism, and the other “isms” that science shows are likely to be true?

I doubt it. My feeling (heightened by reading the recent Islamic essay cited here against atheism ) is that the Koran would only be in favor of scientific efforts that supported its own prior view of the way the world is. But that is fundamentally not a view that is pro-science. It is not a view that is really interested in learning about the world. Rather, it is a view that is interested only in reinforcing ancient superstitions and prejudices.

I hasten to add that the same is true of many Christians ...

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Posted: 01 September 2006 05:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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The Qur’an can proove anything.  Because something is likely to be true doesn’t mean that it is.

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Posted: 01 September 2006 05:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Ever since the dawn of human life on this planet, Man has always sought to understand Nature, his own place in the scheme of Creation and the purpose of Life itself. In this quest for Truth, spanning many centuries and diverse civilizations, organized religion has shaped human life and determined to a large extent, the course of history. While some religions have been based on books, claimed by their adherents to be divinely inspired, others have relied solely on human experience.

Al-Qur’aan, the main source of the Islamic faith, is a book believed by Muslims, to be of completely Divine origin. Muslims also believe that it contains guidance for all mankind. Since the message of the Qur’aan is believed to be for all times, it should be relevant to every age. Does the Qur’aan pass this test? Here, I intend to give an objective analysis of the Muslim belief regarding the Divine origin of the Qur’aan, in the light of established scientific discoveries.

There was a time, in the history of world civilization, when ‘miracles’, or what was perceived to be a miracle, took precedence over human reason and logic. But how do we define the term ‘miracle’? A miracle is anything that takes place out of the normal course of life and for which humankind has no explanation. However, we must be careful before we accept something as a miracle. An article in ‘The Times of India’ Mumbai, in 1993 reported that ‘a saint’ by the name ‘Baba Pilot’ claimed to have stayed continuously submerged under water in a tank for three consecutive days and nights. However, when reporters wanted to examine the base of the tank of water where he claimed to have performed this ‘miraculous’ feat, he refused to let them do so. He argued by asking as to how one could examine the womb of a mother that gives birth to a child. The ‘Baba’ was hiding something. It was a gimmick simply to gain publicity. Surely, no modern man with even the slightest inkling towards rational thinking would accept such a ‘miracle’. If such false miracles are the tests of divinity, then we would have to accept Mr. P. C. Sorcar, the world famous magician known for his ingenious magical tricks and illusions, as the best God-man.

A book, claiming Divine origin, is in effect, claiming to be a miracle. Such a claim should be easily verifiable in any age, according to the standards of that age. Muslims believe, that the Qur’aan is the last and final revelation of God, the miracle of miracles revealed as a mercy to mankind. Let us therefore investigate the veracity of this belief.

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Posted: 01 September 2006 05:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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[quote author=“Salah ad-din”]Al-Qur’aan, the main source of the Islamic faith, is a book believed by Muslims, to be of completely Divine origin. ...

There was a time, in the history of world civilization, when ‘miracles’, or what was perceived to be a miracle, took precedence over human reason and logic. ...

A book, claiming Divine origin, is in effect, claiming to be a miracle. Such a claim should be easily verifiable in any age, according to the standards of that age. Muslims believe, that the Qur’aan is the last and final revelation of God, the miracle of miracles revealed as a mercy to mankind. Let us therefore investigate the veracity of this belief.

Firstly, thank you for explaining this. Very good. Now we are getting somewhere.

Secondly, what evidence is there that there was an earlier time of miracles? We have these stories, it is true, but we have similar stories by Hindus, Buddhists, animists, Mayans, North American natives, etc. Are you claiming that they are all true?

If they are all true, why was god performing miracles for all these cultures that are not Moslem?

If some of them are false, what evidence is there that the Koran is true while these other books are false?

Also, we have books nowadays that talk about miracles. The Mormons talk about miracles. New Age believers talk about miracles. Why are the claims of the past any more believable than these modern-day claims?

Let me say what I believe. These stories of miracles are all false. They are all constructed fictions. It is simply silly to pick one book of false tales and claim that it is “holy” or “of divine origin” while all the others are not.

If there were really a god, why would he give stories of miracles around the world to people with different beliefs and religions? Why would he only reveal himself to a few people, and not to everyone?

What I believe is that there is no such god. All these are fictions of human origin.

Now, you say “let’s investigate”. OK, so what sort of investigation would you suggest? What evidence is there that the Koran is divinely inspired and the Mahabharata is not?

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Posted: 03 September 2006 02:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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The Quran and Science.

From my experience Muslims such as Salaah ad-din always use the subject of Science of the Quran to emphasise one of three theories.

1. That Muslims contributed far more in the field of science than is officially recognised.

2. That the Quran reveals modern day facts of science over 1,500 years ago and therefore must be regarded as a divine book.

3. That there is a “WESTERN SCIENCE” and a “MUSLIM SCIENCE”


Point no. one is a legitimate complaint by Muslims or any other community for that matter if there is a distortion of the history of science to emphasise the contribution of most scientist of Europe and America and paying scant regard to the contribution of Muslim scientist.

Yet it is the duty of Muslims to correct those mistakes by producing historical evidence to correct this history of science. You will find that in the great majority of the cases it is only a perception that scientific discoveries by Muslims have not been given due recognition but the relevant evidence to back up these claims do not exist.

Point no. 2 is the familiar one when Biblical and Quranic scholars take a verse from these scripture and “stretch” the imagination to the extent that the verse neatly fits in with the theories of modern science.

Only a fool will accept a one line verse such as “starts with a clot of blood” to conclude that this verse summarises how the reproductive system of human beings function.

Point no. 3 is the scariest one of all. Muslim religious scholars are trying to delimit science into a Muslim compartment and a Western compartment. All scientific theories that conform to the Quran or the perception of the religious ‘scientific” Muslim scholar is valid or if it disagrees with “Muslim science” it is “Western science” or pseudo science. Amongst such theories is Darwinism etc. Creationism is seen as a valid Muslim scientific theory. In fact more astounding is the claims lately by some shrewd religious scholars that some of the modern scientific theories conforms to the findings of the Quran. This gives the impression that the benchmark of all of science is none other than the scripture of the Quran.

So the question is “which of these three theories is Salaah ad-din promoting?”

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Posted: 06 September 2006 03:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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The Coran is very direct , for example the coran told us that the lowest place in the earth is between palestine and jordan in a time that everybody thinks that it is in netherland, this is an example

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Posted: 06 September 2006 06:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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[quote author=“bolbol71”]The Coran is very direct , for example the coran told us that the lowest place in the earth is between palestine and jordan in a time that everybody thinks that it is in netherland, this is an example

:?:

I don’t understand your point. Could you explain?

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Posted: 06 September 2006 07:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Muslim or Non Muslim

Hi Doug,

I suspect Bolbol171 is not a Muslim and his / her quote

[quote author=“bolbol71”]The Coran is very direct , for example the coran told us that the lowest place in the earth is between palestine and jordan in a time that everybody thinks that it is in netherland, this is an example

is not even mentioned in the Quran. (Notice the spelling of Quran as Coran). I’ve read many contentious scientific claims by Muslim scholars and this certainly does not seem one of them.

I have a feeling that Bolbol171 is simply stirring a pot so that we can deride Muslims about their science, but I agree with you Doug so hopefully Bolbol171 can shed more light on his claims.

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Posted: 04 November 2006 12:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Salah ad-din—you sound like you’d be really interested in looking into books on theological rationalism and deism—as we don’t know (and a lot of atheists and secular humanists go into crisis-management when someone asks their questions from the standpoint of a theological position) if you’re promoting one of three positions mfmahamed mentioned… tell us which seems to hold you most.

I’d guess the third?

Dividing certain scientific(or let’s say, differently peer-reviewed])theories or practices tends to happen when different groups are doing the reviewing and challenging of attempts to established veracity re: their subject matter, and using different tests of truth, while rejecting other tests out of hand for power-political reasons. An example - the varying attitudes within medicine[the profession] toward alternative medicine: one of the reasons why it’s so hard to do skeptical inquiry into the usefulness of “alternative” medicine is because the present profession might be horribly scarred if methods from alternative medicine were publicly shown to work—and cast light on weaknesses or structural problems with how medical research is done [that is, when Big Pharma wants it to be done.] A lot of research is being done, hidden in corporate labs into herbal remedies, etc.—simultaneous with lobbying to make sure that small companies distributing promising remedies are shut down, even when there’s no proven health risk. Worse yet is that there’s usually only suppressed interest in proving the health risk at all. Powerful interests prevent open dialogue—and unless you’re power conscious, the limits we all have on the time we can spend learning about the philosophy of science, epistemology, and the like [from whatever tradition—I’m trying to school myself in vedic and buddhist epistemologies that came up from trying to describe mental states and mystical experiences]... dictate how likely we are to keep an open mind, or, conversely, accept some group’s opinion on what ought to be believed.

Paul Kurtz’ phrase “skepticism of the third kind” encompasses a valuable attitude to have—and which I think you do, or you wouldn’t be here.

Liberal theologians in the Catholic tradition might conceivably make the argument that Catholic doctrine is subjected to a rigorous peer-review process itself—the internal power structures of the Roman and Anglican Church, and debate going on within it as to how best to continue their ‘ministry’—a process that they’d claim has gone on since Peter. Essentially, an argument of the form: “surely the Tradition is valuable, because many great minds have come into the Catholic camp, and have exercised interpretive licence [while inspired by God] in their theology, and the catechism we have now is fairly coherent, and its correspondence to reality should be evident from our success [or lack thereof].” An argument from power, basically.

I am extremely skeptical about any enforced divisions between spheres of human science, whether it be between physical and social science, between those and philosophy(including theology), and the divisions between that and art/culture theory and practice.

I’m afraid I don’t know too much about the Islamic theological traditions—I only know a fair bit about Sufism, as I’ve been researching mindfulness practices in humanism [religious or secular] over the last two-three months.

Thank for linking us to an introduction… if you have more links, especially from scholarly efforts to make clear Islamic theology, PM me!

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Posted: 04 November 2006 02:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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This old subject again?

Here is what the Muslims don’t understand, and don’t tell you, and also what most other people don’t know either.

Islam got its “science” from Aristotle.

Christianity came about around the 1st century CE, and came to power in Rome around the 4th century CE.

Islam came about around the 7th century CE, and came to power around the 9th century CE.

The Christian New Testament is basically ONLY a story about Jesus Christ and some things about how to live your life and about the coming end of the world.

The Koran, however, is a collection of laws and statements about how the world operates, as well as principles to live by.

So, right off the bat, these two books are fundamentally different. The Christian religion is really a story book religion, whereas Islam is a religion based on laws, principles, etc., not stories (which is where the Hadith comes in).

So, unlike the Christian NT, the Koran makes some explicit statements about how the world works, etc. (BTW, this is also why Christians are left using the OT as their source for information on how the world works, because the NT is silent on this subject).

Now, as I said, Christianity came to power around the 4th century CE. The Christians in Rome were completely against Greek science and most of Greek philosophy. As such, they began banning the teaching of many aspects of Greek knowledge and shut down schools, burned libraries, etc.

Well, guess what, by the time the Christians had come on the scene, the Greeks had already developed atomic theory, had already excavated and collected fossils and come up with naturalistic explanations for them, had already developed an evolutionary explanation for the origins of life, had already proposed the heliocentric theory, had already created complex machines such as mechanical robots and mechanical computers, had already invented the steam engine, had already created water powered factories, had already developed advanced mathematics, had already performed surgery and had sterile hospitals, etc., etc.

When the Christians came to power, they were against all these things. They branded the theory of atoms as heresy, they said that diseases were caused by demons, they branded all naturalistic explanations for the origins of life as heresy, they even claimed that the world was not round and that there was no such thing as gravity, to show that there couldn’t be people on the other side of the earth, as the Greeks had predicted.

So, what happened? Well, most of this stuff was destroyed, but between the 4rd century CE and the 6th century CE, keepers of this knowledge moved ever eastward, setting up new schools and trying to avoid persecution. Many of these people by this time were Jews and “heretical” Christian sects.

These people and their books eventually moved into Arabia, where these Jews and “heretical” Christians, who still had some of the copies of the works of Aristotle, etc., (who had been banned by the Catholics by this time) integrated with the tribal people of Arabia, and it is from this that Islam was born.

The people of Arabia were “pagans”, who then adopted some of the beliefs of the Jews/heretical Christians, and this is why the Koran is a Abrahamic based work, primarily Jewish in nature, which teaches that Jesus was a mortal man, etc., because this was a teaching of the heretical Christian sects that went to Arabia.

Now, this so-called science of the Koran is really just a small amount of the info that was passed on from the Greeks via these people who were fleeing the persecution of the Catholic Roman Empire.

When Muslims talk about the “science of the Koran”, they compare the Koran to the Christian Bible and to other religious texts, but they don’t compare it to the works of Greek science and philosophy, which is really where they got their info from in the first place, and in fact, by the time it had come down to them, it had been mangled and degraded, and indeed the basis of the so-called “Islamic science” is 3th century BCE Aristotelian philosophy, which is actually anti-Materialist, and thus not even the best of the Greek sciences anyway. Aristotle argued against evolution and against the atomic theory of Democritus and Epicurus and against heliocentric theory.

So, to sum up, “Koranic science” is just a distant incorporation of little bits and pieces of Aristotelian philosophy, which, by the way, is also why most of our copies of Aristotle’s works come down to us from the Arabs, because that’s where his works got taken and preserved, and of course, incorporated into the Koran.

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Posted: 04 November 2006 02:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Let us compare, “Koranic science”, vs. the Greek science that preceded it by as much as 1,000 years (atomic theory was developed by Democritus around 500 BCE, the Koran was written around 600-700 CE.)

First, the Greeks (note that most of our knowledge of ancient Greek science comes to us from anti-Greek Christian works. The original Greek works were destroyed, we have mostly the Christian works that were against them):

  Wherefore they (the Syrians) reference the fish as of the same origin and the same family as man, holding a more reasonable philosophy than that of Anaximandros; for he declares, not that fishes and men were generated at the same time, but that at first men were generated in the form of fishes, and that growing up as sharks do till they were able to help themselves, they then came forth on the dry ground.
  - Plutarch (written 1st century CE about Anaximandros from 6th century BCE)

  Anaximandros, the companion of Thales, says that the infinite is the sole cause of all generation and destruction, and from it the heavens were separated, and similarly all the worlds, which are infinite in number. And he declared that destruction and, far earlier, generation have taken place since an indefinite time, since all things are involved in a cycle. He says that the earth is a cylinder in form, and that its depth is one-third of its breadth. And he says that at the beginning of this world something [Diels] productive of heat and cold from the eternal being was separated therefrom, and a sort of sphere of this flame surrounded the air about the earth, as bark surrounds a tree ; then this sphere was broken into parts and defined into distinct circles, and thus arose the sun and the moon and the stars. Farther he says that at the beginning man was generated from all sorts of animals, since all the rest can quickly get food for themselves, but man alone requires careful feeding for a long time; such a being at the beginning could not have preserved his existence. Such is the teaching of Anaximandros.
  - Hippolytus (written 3rd century CE about Anaximandros from 6th century BCE)

  Animals come into being through vapors raised by the sun. Man, however, came into being from another animal, namely the fish, for at first he was like a fish. Winds are due to a separation of the lightest vapors and the motion of the masses of these vapors ; and moisture comes from the vapor raised by the sun from them; and lightning occurs when a wind falls upon clouds and separates them. Anaximandros was born in the third year of the forty-second Olympiad.
  - Hippolytus (written 3rd century CE about Anaximandros from 6th century BCE)

“Shells are found inland and in the mountains, and in the quarries of Syracuse an impression of a fish and seaweed has been found, and impressions of fish were found in Paros in the depth of the rock and in Malta impressions of many marine creatures. These, he [Xenophanes] says, were produced when everything was long ago covered with mud and the impressions were dried in the mud.”
- Hippolytus (discussing the teachings of Xenophanes)

  “The universe is infinite because it has not been produced by a creator. The causes of what now exists had no beginning.”

  “There is an infinite number of worlds of different sizes: some are larger than ours, some have no sun or moon, others have suns or moons that are bigger than ours. Some have many suns and moons. Worlds are spaced at differing distances from each other; in some parts of the universe there are more worlds, in other parts fewer. In some areas they are growing, in other parts, decreasing. They are destroyed by collision with one another. There are some worlds with no living creatures, plants, or moisture.”

  “The material cause of all things that exist is the coming together of atoms and void. Atoms are too small to be perceived by the senses. They are eternal and have many different shapes, and they can cluster together to create things that are perceivable. Differences in shape, arrangement, and position of atoms produce different things. By aggregation they provide bulky objects that we can perceive with our sight and other senses.”

  “By convention sweet, by convention bitter, by convention hot, by convention cold, by convention colour: but in reality atoms and void.”
  - Democritus approx. 6th century BCE

[T]he world was produced by the working of nature, without there having been any need for a process of manufacture, and that what your school declares to be capable of accomplishment only by means of divine intelligence is a thing so easy that nature will produce, and is producing, and has produced worlds without end. It is because you do not see how nature can accomplish this without the help of some kind of mind that, like the tragic poets, in your inability to bring the plot to a smooth conclusion, you have recourse to a god. Yet you would certainly feel no need for his agency if you had before your eyes the expanse of region, unmeasured and on every side unbounded, upon which the mind may fasten and concentrate itself, and where it may wander far and wide without seeing any farthermost limit upon which to be able to rest. Now in this immensity of length and breadth and height there floats an infinite quantity of innumerable atoms which, in spite of the intervening void, nevertheless join together, and through one seizing upon one, and another upon another, form themselves into connected wholes, by which means are produced those forms and outlines of the material world which your school is of opinion cannot be produced without bellows and anvils. You have therefore placed our necks beneath the yoke of a perpetual tyrant, of whom we are to go in fear by day and night, for who would not fear a god who foresaw everything, considered everything, noted everything, and looked upon himself as concerned in everything,—a busy and prying god? From this has come, in the first place, your idea of preordained necessity, which you call ε μαρμένη, meaning by the term that every event that occurs had its origin in eternal truth and the chain of causation—(though what is to be thought of a philosophy that holds the ignorant old crone’s belief that everything happens by destiny?)—and secondly your art of μαντικ , or divinatio, as it is called in Latin, which, if we were willing to listen to you, would imbue us with such superstition that we should have to pay regard to soothsayers, augurs, diviners, prophets, and interpreters of dreams. From these terrors we have been released by Epicurus, and claimed for freedom; we do not fear beings of whom we understand that they neither create trouble for themselves, nor seek it for others, and we worship, in piety and holiness, a sublime and exalted nature.
- The Nature of the Gods; Cicero, 45 BCE

 

  For lapsing aeons change the nature of
  The whole wide world, and all things needs must take
  One status after other, nor aught persists
  Forever like itself. All things depart;
  Nature she changeth all, compelleth all
  To transformation.
  ...
  In suchwise, then, the lapsing aeons change
  The nature of the whole wide world, and earth
  Taketh one status after other. And what
  She bore of old, she now can bear no longer,
  And what she never bore, she can to-day.

  In those days also the telluric world
  Strove to beget the monsters that upsprung
  With their astounding visages and limbs-
  The Man-woman- a thing betwixt the twain,
  Yet neither, and from either sex remote-
  Some gruesome Boggles orphaned of the feet,
  Some widowed of the hands, dumb Horrors too
  Without a mouth, or blind Ones of no eye,
  Or Bulks all shackled by their legs and arms
  Cleaving unto the body fore and aft,
  Thuswise, that never could they do or go,
  Nor shun disaster, nor take the good they would.
  And other prodigies and monsters earth
  Was then begetting of this sort- in vain,
  Since Nature banned with horror their increase,
  And powerless were they to reach unto
  The coveted flower of fair maturity,
  Or to find aliment, or to intertwine
  In works of Venus. For we see there must
  Concur in life conditions manifold,
  If life is ever by begetting life
  To forge the generations one by one:
  First, foods must be; and, next, a path whereby
  The seeds of impregnation in the frame
  May ooze, released from the members all;
  Last, the possession of those instruments
  Whereby the male with female can unite,
  The one with other in mutual ravishments.

  And in the ages after monsters died,
  Perforce there perished many a stock, unable
  By propagation to forge a progeny.
  For whatsoever creatures thou beholdest
  Breathing the breath of life, the same have been
  Even from their earliest age preserved alive
  By cunning, or by valour, or at least
  By speed of foot or wing. And many a stock
  Remaineth yet, because of use to man,
  And so committed to man’s guardianship.
  Valour hath saved alive fierce lion-breeds
  And many another terrorizing race,
  Cunning the foxes, flight the antlered stags.
  Light-sleeping dogs with faithful heart in breast,
  However, and every kind begot from seed
  Of beasts of draft, as, too, the woolly flocks
  And horned cattle, all, my Memmius,
  Have been committed to guardianship of men.
  For anxiously they fled the savage beasts,
  And peace they sought and their abundant foods,
  Obtained with never labours of their own,
  Which we secure to them as fit rewards
  For their good service. But those beasts to whom
  Nature has granted naught of these same things-
  Beasts quite unfit by own free will to thrive
  And vain for any service unto us
  In thanks for which we should permit their kind
  To feed and be in our protection safe-
  Those, of a truth, were wont to be exposed,
  Enshackled in the gruesome bonds of doom,
  As prey and booty for the rest, until
  Nature reduced that stock to utter death.

  But Centaurs ne’er have been, nor can there be
  Creatures of twofold stock and double frame,
  Compact of members alien in kind,
  Yet formed with equal function, equal force
  In every bodily part- a fact thou mayst,
  However dull thy wits, well learn from this:
  ...
  Such hybrid creatures could not have been begot
  And limbs of all beasts heterogeneous
  Have been together knit; because, indeed,
  The divers kinds of grasses and the grains
  And the delightsome trees- which even now
  Spring up abounding from within the earth-
  Can still ne’er be begotten with their stems
  Begrafted into one; but each sole thing
  Proceeds according to its proper wont
  And all conserve their own distinctions based
  In Nature’s fixed decree.
  - On the Nature of Things; Lucretius, 50 BCE

Some commentary by Aristotle:

  We must explain then (1) that Nature belongs to the class of causes which act for the sake of something;

  ...

  [I]f a man’s crop is spoiled on the threshing-floor, the rain did not fall for the sake of this-in order that the crop might be spoiled-but that result just followed. Why then should it not be the same with the parts in nature, e.g. that our teeth should come up of necessity-the front teeth sharp, fitted for tearing, the molars broad and useful for grinding down the food-since they did not arise for this end, but it was merely a coincident result; and so with all other parts in which we suppose that there is purpose? Wherever then all the parts came about just what they would have been if they had come before an end, such things survived, being organized spontaneously in a fitting way; whereas those which grew otherwise perished and continue to perish….

  Such are the arguments (and others of the kind) which may cause difficulty on this point. Yet it is impossible that this should be the true view. For teeth and all other natural things either invariably or normally come about in a given way; but of not one of the results of chance or spontaneity is this true. We do not ascribe to chance or mere coincidence the frequency of rain in winter, but frequent rain in summer we do; nor heat in the dog-days, but only if we have it in winter. If then, it is agreed that things are either the result of coincidence or for an end, and these cannot be the result of coincidence or spontaneity, it follows that they must be for an end; and that such things are all due to nature even the champions of the theory which is before us would agree. Therefore action for an end is present in things which come to be and are by nature.
  - Physics; Aristotle, 350 BCE

  “Further, where a series has a completion, all the preceding steps are for the sake of that. Now surely as in intelligent action, so in nature; and as in nature, so it is in each action, if nothing interferes. Now intelligent action is for the sake of an end; therefore the nature of things also is so. Thus if a house, e.g. had been a thing made by nature, it would have been made in the same way as it is now by art; and if things made by nature were made also by art, they would come to be in the same way as by nature. Each step then in the series is for the sake of the next; and generally art partly completes what nature cannot bring to a finish, and partly imitates her. If, therefore, artificial products are for the sake of an end, so clearly also are natural products. The relation of the later to the earlier terms of the series is the same in both. This is most obvious in the animals other than man: they make things neither by art nor after inquiry or deliberation. Wherefore people discuss whether it is by intelligence or by some other faculty that these creatures work, spiders, ants, and the like. By gradual advance in this direction we come to see clearly that in plants too that is produced which is conducive to the end-leaves, e.g. grow to provide shade for the fruit. If then it is both by nature and for an end that the swallow makes its nest and the spider its web, and plants grow leaves for the sake of the fruit and send their roots down (not up) for the sake of nourishment, it is plain that this kind of cause is operative in things which come to be and are by nature. And since ‘nature’ means two things, the matter and the form, of which the latter is the end, and since all the rest is for the sake of the end, the form must be the cause in the sense of ‘that for the sake of which’.

  ...

  It is plain then that nature is a cause, a cause that operates for a purpose.”
  - Physics; Aristotle, 350 BCE

This doesn’t even get into the works of Hippocrates and Galen, the major Greek and Roman experts in medicine and the working of the human body.

Some more anti-Epicurean Christian writings:

  “We propose to furnish an account of the tenets of natural philosophers, and who these are, as well as the tenets of moral philosophers, and who these are; and thirdly, the tenets of logicians, and who these logicians are.

  Among natural philosophers may be enumerated Thales, Pythagoras, Empedocles, Heraclitus, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Anaxagoras, Archelaus, Parmenides, Leucippus, Democritus, Xenophanes, Ecphantus, Hippo.

  Among moral philosophers are Socrates, pupil of Archelaus the physicist, (and) Plato the pupil of Socrates. This (speculator) combined three systems of philosophy.

  Among logicians is Aristotle, pupil of Plato. He systematized the art of dialectics. Among the Stoic (logicians) were Chrysippus (and) Zeno.

  Epicurus, however, advanced an opinion almost contrary to all philosophers. Pyrrho was an Academic; this (speculator) taught the in-comprehensibility of everything. The Brahmins among the Indians, and the Druids among the Celts, and Hesiod (devoted themselves to philosophic pursuits).

  ...

  CHAP. I.—THALES; HIS PHYSICS AND THEOLOGY; FOUNDER OF GREEK ASTRONOMY.

  It is said that Thales of Miletus, one of the seven, wise men, first attempted to frame a system of natural philosophy. This person said that some such thing as water is the generative principle of the universe, and its end;—for that out of this, solidified and again dissolved, all things consist, and that all things are supported on it; from which also arise both earthquakes and changes of the winds and atmospheric movements, and that all things are both produced and are in a state of flux corresponding with the nature of the primary author of generation;

  ...

  CHAP. V.—ANAXIMANDER; HIS THEORY OF THE INFINITE; HIS ASTRONOMIC OPINIONS; HIS PHYSICS.

  Anaximander, then, was the hearer of Thales. Anaximander was son of Praxiadas, and a native of Miletus. This man said that the originating principle of existing things is a certain constitution of the Infinite, out of which the heavens are generated, and the worlds therein; and that this principle is eternal and undecaying, and comprising all the worlds. And he speaks of time as something of limited generation, and subsistence, and destruction. This person declared the Infinite to be an originating principle and element of existing things, being the first to employ such a denomination of the originating principle. But, moreover, he asserted that there is an eternal motion, by the agency of which it happens that the heavens are generated; but that the earth is poised aloft, upheld by nothing, continuing on account of its equal distance from all (the heavenly bodies); ... And that man was, originally, similar to a different animal, that is, a fish. And that winds are caused by the separation of very rarified exhalations of the atmosphere, and by their motion after they have been condensed. And that rain arises from earth’s giving back (the vapours which it receives) from the (clouds under the sun. And that there are flashes of lightning when the wind coming down severs the clouds.

  CHAP. VII.—ANAXAGORAS; HIS THEORY OF MIND; RECOGNISES AN EFFICIENT CAUSE; HIS COSMOGONY AND ASTRONOMY.

  ...

  And that animals originally came into existence in moisture, and after this one from another; and that males are procreated when the seed secreted from the right parts adhered to the right parts of the womb, and that females are born when the contrary took place.

  CHAP. VIII.—ARCHELAUS; SYSTEM AKIN TO THAT OF ANAXAGORAS; HIS ORIGIN OF THE EARTH AND OF ANIMALS; OTHER SYSTEMS.

  ...

  And with regard to animals, he affirms that the earth, being originally fire in its lower part, where the heat and cold were intermingled, both the rest of animals made their appearance, numerous and dissimilar, all having the same food, being nourished from mud; and their existence was of short duration, but afterwards also generation from one another arose unto them; and men were separated from the rest (of the animal creation), and they appointed rulers, and laws, and arts, and cities, and the rest. And he asserts that mind is innate in all animals alike; for that each, according to the difference of their physical constitution, employed (mind), at one time slower, at another faster.

  ...

  CHAP. X.—LEUCIPPUS; HIS ATOMIC THEORY.

  But Leucippus, an associate of Zeno, did not maintain the same opinion, but affirms things to be infinite, and always in motion, and that generation and change exist continuously. And he affirms plenitude and vacuum to be elements. And he asserts that worlds are produced when many bodies are congregated and flow together from the surrounding space to a common point, so that by mutual contact they made substances of the same figure and similar in form come into connection; and when thus intertwined, there are transmutations into other bodies, and that created things wax and wane through necessity. But what the nature of necessity is, (Parmenides) did not define.

  ...

  CHAP. XI.—DEMOCRITUS; HIS DUALITY OF PRINCIPLES; HIS COSMOGONY.

  And Democritus was an acquaintance of Leucippus. Democritus, son of Damasippus, a native of Abdera, conferring with many gymnosophists among the Indians, and with priests in Egypt, and with astrologers and magi in Babylon, (propounded his system). Now he makes statements similarly with Leucippus concerning elements, viz. plenitude and vacuum, denominating plenitude entity, and vacuum nonentity; and this he asserted, since existing things are continually moved in the vacuum. And he maintained worlds to be infinite, and varying in bulk; and that in some there is neither sun nor moon, while in others that they are larger than with us, and with others more numerous. And that intervals between worlds are unequal; and that in one quarter of space (worlds) are more numerous, and in another less so; and that some of them increase in bulk, but that others attain their full size, while others dwindle away and that in one quarter they are coming into existence, whilst in another they are failing; and that they are destroyed by clashing one with another. And that some worlds are destitute of animals and plants, and every species of moisture. And that the earth of our world was created before that of the stars, and that the moon is underneath; next (to it) the sun; then the fixed stars. And that (neither) the planets nor these (fixed stars) possess an equal elevation. And that the world flourishes, until no longer it can receive anything from without. This (philosopher) turned all things into ridicule, as if all the concerns of humanity were deserving of laughter.

  ...

  CHAP. XIX.—EPICURUS; ADOPT’S THE DEMOCRITIC ATOMISM; DENIAL OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE; THE PRINCIPLE OF HIS ETHICAL SYSTEM.

  Epicurus, however, advanced an opinion almost contrary to all. He supposed, as originating principles of all things, atoms and vacuity. He considered vacuity as the place that would contain the things that will exist, and atoms the matter out of which all things could be formed; and that from the concourse of atoms both the Deity derived existence, and all the elements, and all things inherent in them, as well as animals and other (creatures); so that nothing was generated or existed, unless it be from atoms. And he affirmed that these atoms were composed of extremely small particles, in which there could not exist either a point or a sign, or any division; wherefore also he called them atoms. ... [H]e says that God has providential care for nothing, and that there is no such thing at all as providence or fate, but that all things are made by chance. And he concluded that the souls of men are dissolved along with their bodies, just as also they were produced along with them, for that they are blood, and that when this has gone forth or been altered, the entire man perishes; and in keeping with this tenet, (Epicurus maintained) that there are neither trials in Hades, nor tribunals of justice; so that whatsoever any one may commit in this life, that, provided he may escape detection, he is altogether beyond any liability of trial (for it in a future state).

  ...

  The opinions, therefore, of those who have attempted to frame systems of philosophy among the Greeks, I consider that we have sufficiently explained; and from these the heretics, taking occasion, have endeavoured to establish the tenets that will be after a short time declared. It seems, however, expedient, that first explaining the mystical rites and whatever imaginary doctrines some have laboriously framed concerning the stars, or magnitudes, to declare these; for heretics likewise, taking occasion from them, are considered by the multitude to utter prodigies. Next in order we shall elucidate the feeble opinions advanced by these.

  ...

  The followers, however, of Anaxagoras of Clazomenae, and of Democritus, and of Epicurus, and multitudes of others, have given it as their opinion that the generation of the universe proceeds from infinite numbers of atoms; and we have previously made partial mention of these philosophers. But Anaxagoras derives the universe from things similar to those that are being produced; whereas the followers of Democritus and Epicurus derived the universe from things both dissimilar (to the entities produced), and devoid of passion, that is, from atoms. But the followers of Heraclides of Pontus, and of Asclepiades, derived the universe from things dissimilar (to the entities produced), and capable of passion, as if from incongruous corpuscles. But the disciples of Plato affirm that these entities are from three principles—God, and Matter, and Exemplar. He divides matter, however, into four principles—fire, water, earth, and air. And (he says) that God is the Creator of this (matter), and that Mind is its exemplar.

  ...

  HAP. XXVIII.—THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRUTH.

  The first and only (one God), both Creator and Lord of all, had nothing coeval with Himself; not infinite chaos, nor measureless water, nor solid earth, nor dense air, not warm fire, nor refined spirit, nor the azure canopy of the stupendous firmament. But He was One, alone in Himself. By an exercise of His will He created things that are, which antecedently had no existence, except that He willed to make them. For He is fully acquainted with whatever is about to take place, for foreknowledge also is present to Him. The different principles, however, of what will come into existence, He first fabricated, viz., fire and spirit, water and earth, from which diverse elements He proceeded to form His own creation. And some objects He formed of one essence, but others He compounded from two, and others from three, and others from four. And those formed of one substance were immortal, for in their case dissolution does not follow, for what is one will never be dissolved. Those, on the other hand, which are formed out of two, or three, or four substances, are dissoluble; wherefore also are they named mortal. For this has been denominated death; namely, the dissolution of substances connected. I now therefore think that I have sufficiently answered those endued with a sound mind, who, if they are desirous of additional instruction, and are disposed accurately to investigate the substances of these things, and the causes of the entire creation, will become acquainted with these points should they peruse a work of ours comprised (under the title), Concerning the Substance of the Universe. I consider, however, that at present it is enough to elucidate those causes of which the Greeks, not being aware, glorified, in pompous phraseology, the parts of creation, while they remained ignorant of the Creator. And from these the heresiarchs have taken occasion, and have transformed the statements previously made by those Greeks into similar doctrines, and thus have framed ridiculous heresies.

  ...

  Such is the true doctrine in regard of the divine nature, O ye men, Greeks and Barbarians, Chaldeans and Assyrians, Egyptians and Libyans, Indians and Ethiopians, Celts, and ye Latins, who lead armies, and all ye that inhabit Europe, and Asia, and Libya. And to you I am become an adviser, inasmuch as I am a disciple of the benevolent Logos, and hence humane, in order that you may hasten and by us may be taught who the true God is, and what is His well-ordered creation. Do not devote your attention to the fallacies of artificial discourses, nor the vain promises of plagiarizing heretics, but to the venerable simplicity of unassuming truth. And by means of this knowledge you shall escape the approaching threat of the fire of judgment, and the rayless scenery of gloomy Tartarus, where never shines a beam from the irradiating voice of the Word!

  You shall escape the boiling flood of hell’s eternal lake of fire and the eye ever fixed in menacing glare of fallen angels chained in Tartarus as punishment for their sins; and you shall escape the worm that ceaselessly coils for food around the body whose scum has bred it. Now such (torments) as these shall thou avoid by being instructed in a knowledge of the true God. And thou shalt possess an immortal body, even one placed beyond the possibility of corruption, just like the soul. And thou shalt receive the kingdom of heaven, thou who, whilst thou didst sojourn in this life, didst know the Celestial King. And thou shalt be a companion of the Deity, and a co-heir with Christ, no longer enslaved by lusts or passions, and never again wasted by disease. For thou hast become God: for whatever sufferings thou didst undergo while being a man, these He gave to thee, because thou wast of mortal mould, but whatever it is consistent with God to impart, these God has promised to bestow upon thee, because thou hast been deified, and begotten unto immortality. This constitutes the import of the proverb, “Know thyself;” i.e., discover God within thyself, for He has formed thee after His own image. For with the knowledge of self is conjoined the being an object of God’s knowledge, for thou art called by the Deity Himself. Be not therefore inflamed, O ye men, with enmity one towards another, nor hesitate to retrace with all speed your steps. For Christ is the God above all, and He has arranged to wash away sin from human beings, rendering regenerate the old man. And God called man His likeness from the beginning, and has evinced in a figure His love towards thee. And provided thou obeyest His solemn injunctions, and becomest a faithful follower of Him who is good, thou shall resemble Him, inasmuch as thou shall have honour conferred upon thee by Him.”
  - Refutation of All Heresies; Hippolytus (3rd century CE)

Etc., etc., we could go on.

Now lets compare these works from Greek philosophy, which were developed between 500 BCE and 200 CE, with no claims at all of divine revelation or guidance, to the Koran, written around 650 CE.

Well, crap, I was going to cut and paste from the site you linked, but they use images that you can’t copy from, so you’ll have to do the comparison yourself.

BTW, in regard to the quote from the Koran about God creating every living thing from water, this was a teaching of some Greeks and Syrians that goes back over 4,000 years….

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Posted: 13 December 2010 03:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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mfmahamed

2. That the Quran reveals modern day facts of science over 1,500 years ago and therefore must be regarded as a divine book.

Can you cite such an example?
What about Jules Verne? He was way ahead of his time and cited many facts which proved to be true, is that divine?

The problem lies not in what is true in Scripture, the problem lies in what is not true in Scripture (all divine scriptures).

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Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind.
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Posted: 13 December 2010 03:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Why are you guys encouraging this?

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“In the end nature is horrific and teaches us nothing.” -Mutual of Omicron

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Posted: 13 December 2010 03:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Man, this is an ooooooooooold thread ...

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Doug

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Posted: 13 December 2010 03:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Salah ad-din - 01 September 2006 05:15 AM

The Qur’an can proove anything.  Because something is likely to be true doesn’t mean that it is.

Sounds like the bible.

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Gary the Human

All the Gods and all religions are created by humans, to meet human needs and accomplish human ends.

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